Research? In amazingly obvious results of why consumer magazines and online media were “harder hit than the rest of the media marketplace by the advertising recession,” a study sponsored by DoubleClick explains, “they were disproportionately dependent on advertising categories that were especially impacted by the U.S. economic recession.” (You can download a PDF of the study by clicking DoubleClick.“>this link.)

There’s a problem with this research (besides the obvious conclusion). Consumer magazines were NOT the hardest hit media marketplace by the advertising recession. Not according to the experts in tracking those kinds of statistics, merchant media bank Veronis Suhler Stevenson. According to Veronis, “Business-to-Business Communication was the hardest-hit of all communications segments last year, as total spending fell 12.7 percent. Advertising plummeted 19.7 percent in 2001, due primarily to double-digit declines in technology and insurance-financial-legal categories. Circulation spending also fell last year, by 5.4 percent, as a result of the weak economy and a shift to more unpaid circulation. Trade-show spending declined as well, by 3.2 percent, in part as business travel fell off in the aftermath of September 11.”

Consumer Magazines, according to Veronis, were hit with a downturn in combined spending on advertising and circulation, slumping 4.5 percent, ending an eight-year growth trend. The top 12 categories of advertisers cut spending an aggregate 9.8 percent for the year, and circulation spending declined by 2.1 percent.

DoubleClick’s “findings” are obviously designed to make it appear that consumer advertising online (their market niche) was merely reflectling what was happening in consumer magazines. But upon further study, I believe you would discover that consumer magazines held up better than this research suggests. Still a pathetic year for all, however.